Tag Archives: Anjani Thomas

Leonard Cohen Search Now Online At LeonardCohenSearch.com

Leonard Cohen-Focused Custom Search Engine & Index

LeonardCohenSearch Site Screenshot

What is the Leonard Cohen Custom Search Engine?

First of all, the Leonard Cohen Custom Search is in no way analogous to “Where’s Waldo?”

The Leonard Cohen Custom Search Engine at LeonardCohenSearch.com is a Google-powered search process that has been altered (customized) to search only specified web sites or, in some cases, specified portions of web sites1 I have selected because they contain useful information about Leonard Cohen, the poet and singer-songwriter.2

Why is the Leonard Cohen Custom Search Engine?

Research for pieces I’ve written about Leonard Cohen and Anjani brought me repeatedly to sites at which dedicated fans have accumulated an impressive amount of data about Cohen’s life and work.3

I thought I could accomplish this research more efficaciously with a search engine customized to search only those web sites I’ve found most useful and accurate.4 Happily, Google has made tools to accomplish this task accessible to wannabe geeks like me.

So, I rigged up and used a search engine that is at least effective enough to convince me that it’s faster and more accurate than a general search.

Eventually, it occurred to me that one or another person might find it helpful as well. To make the search mechanism usable, I spiffed up the search page, popped for a domain at which the search engine could reside (LeonardCohenSearch.com), ginned up a graphic or two, and threw in some links to reference sources I’ve found helpful.

And as of this evening, it’s open for business. Even if you are not enamored of the music of Leonard Cohen (and, as always, you have my sympathy), you may want to check out the site for a sense of how the Google custom search, a powerful tool that coud be beneficial for an extended range of subjects in a large number of situations, works.

LeonardCohenSearch can be accessed at Leonard Cohen Custom Search


  1. Heck of a Guy blog, for example, contains several posts about Leonard Cohen and Anjani but also, as the recurrent reader knows, has posts about sugarplums (as in “visions of”), broomcorn, and prototypes for a new McHenry Illinois County Seal, all of which may be of less compelling interest to your average Cohenista. Consequently, Leonard Cohen Custom Search searches only the “Leonard Cohen” and “Anjani” categories of Heck of a Guy blog, so the reader who attempts to track down my three part exposition on George Washington Carver on this custom search engine is likely to find only frustration. []
  2. Rather than, say, Leonard Cohen, the New York accountant []
  3. While there are a batch of Cohen-dedicated sites, clearly the most impressive and influential is leonardcohenfiles.com, for which Jarkko Arjatsalo serves as webmaster. It is no small factor that leonardcohenfiles.com has earned the trust and appreciation of Cohen himself, who has released significant raw materials (e.g., notebook pages Cohen used in the creation of a finished song), answered innumerable queries, and revealed future plans in order to enhance the site. []
  4. Limiting searches to only those sites invested in gathering and offering reliable and valid information about Leonard Cohen excludes many potential search hits that are irrelevant, inaccurate, or misleading, rendering it easier and faster to find the correct data with less risk of errors contaminating the findings. []

Lou Reed-Anjani Duet You’ve (Probably) Never Heard

Came So Far For Beauty Dublin Poster

Lou Reed and Anjani At “Came So Far For Beauty” Tribute

While fact checking my post about Lou Reed officially inducting Leonard Cohen into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10 in New York,1 I serendipitously discovered a reference to Mr Reed and Anjani teaming up for a duet at the Dublin “Came So Far For Beauty” tribute to Leonard Cohen.2

Further, the song they performed together was of “Memories,” which has itself been the subject of two recent Heck of a Guy posts:

So, we have Lou Reed and Anjani singing a song Leonard Cohen wrote about Nico. Who wants to play connect the dots?

Ambiguous Documentation

Yeah, I might skip a section labeled “Ambiguous Documentation” too, but it is short. The pertinent Dublin “Came So Far For Beauty” tribute is written up in a number of online and print publications. Some of those pieces indeed mention Anjani and Reed singing “Memories.” Others, however, describe “Memories” the evening’s final song, being performed by the entire cast. And some – yep – listed it both ways.

A couple of emails to folks who were present at the concert has solved, I think, this apparent conundrum.

Lou Reed and Anjani Sing Memories

Lour Reed & Anjani Sing Memories

“Memories” was indeed the final song but was used not only as the finale but also an opportunity for the performers to showcase their skills one last time. And, as it turned out, Lou Reed and Anjani were paired in the exchange of the song’s lines,

Lou Reed:

Frankie Lane, he was singing Jezebel
I pinned an Iron Cross to my lapel
I walked up to the tallest and the blondest girl
I said, Look, you don’t know me now but very soon you will
So won’t you let me see
I said “won’t you let me see”
I said “won’t you let me see
Your naked body?”


Anjani:

Just dance me to the dark side of the gym
Chances are I’ll let you do most anything
I know you’re hungry, I can hear it in your voice
And there are many parts of me to touch, you have your choice
Ah but no you cannot see
She said “no you cannot see”
She said “no you cannot see
My naked body”

An eye witness, who writes on the LeonardCohenForum under the arbitrarily truncated designation, Born With The Gift Of A G, describes the scene in his posting, Thoughts On Came So Far For Beauty in Dublin: Part 2:

… on the second night, The Handsome Family’s third contribution was omitted; Teddy Thompson’s splendid rousing The Future was the penultimate song and the collective rendition of Memories was the closing song. Everybody seemed to have great fun with the latter, particularly Lou Reed who relished flirting with and saying the words “your naked body” to a somewhat flustered Anjani! Lucky old bugger!

Or, as Anjani commented by email about her duet with Lou Reed,

That was a hoot, alright

The Dublin Performance of Memories

The bad news is that I couldn’t turn up a high quality recording of the Lou Reed-Anjani duet. The good news is that I did find an low-fi MP3 file of “Memories” from the first night of the Dublin Tribute. Despite the poor quality, the recording does conjure up a sense of the joyful tone of the concert.

“Memories” Performed By Cast of Dublin “Came So Far For Beauty” Tribute (4 Oct 2006)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, and Julie Christensen

Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, and Julie Christensen

fedoradividerCredit Due Department
Photos and poster are from Dick Straub’s Review Of The Dublin Concert. A full description of the event as well as many, many more photos are available at that site.

  1. The induction ceremony for this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame entrants begins at 7 PM Central (i.e., God’s Time) on March 10 and, as noted by an earlier commenter, will be broadcast on VH1-Classic. []
  2. There were two performances of the “Came So Far For Beauty” tribute in Dublin, one on 4 Oct 2006 and one on 5 Oct 2006. Performers at the tribute included, along with Lou Reed and Anjani,  Nick Cave, Lou Reed, The Handsome Family, Antony, Laurie Anderson, Beth Orton, Teddy Thompson, Jarvis Cocker, Gavin Friday, and Mary Margaret O’Hara. []

The Anjani Chronicles: Anjani Goes To New York, Meets Leonard Cohen, and Finds Romance – But Not In That Order

Introduction To The Anjani Chronicles1

Anjani2 is the exquisite, exotically featured singer and keyboardist best known for her Blue Alert CD, a collection of elegantly performed songs suffused with evocative lyrics, and her professional and romantic relationships with Leonard Cohen, an accomplished singer-songwriter in his own right. My own connection to Anjani began in July 2006 when I posted Music Recommendation That Will Make You Want To Kiss Me, a review of Blue Alert that reflected my captivation with the music. An online flirtation and email relationship between us ensued.3

The Anjani Chronicles are a sequence of posts based on the content of my recent interviews with Anjani.

Anjani Goes To New York, Meets Leonard Cohen, & Finds Romance
But Not In That Order

Today’s post, the third of this series, begins at the point The Anjani Chronicles – Anjani Does Waikiki, Boston, and The Slough Of Despond ended, with Anjani’s departure from Boston’s Berklee School of Music and extends through her move to New York and her first meetings with John Lissauer and Leonard Cohen.

Home Again, Home Again

After deciding that she had reached the point of diminishing returns at Berklee School of Music, Anjani returns to Hawaii and to gigs on the hotel lounge circuit. In retrospect, the next major turn in her life seems inevitable: a young, beautiful, talented Anjani performing for audiences in luxury hotels on the romantic beaches of Hawaii falls for a tourist from the mainland.

As she explains the experience in an interview with the Honolulu Star Bulletin,

I was in my 20s, and he was the kind of man that swept you off your feet.

What are the odds?

Anjani is, indeed, sufficiently smitten that, pausing barely long enough to pack up all her cares and woes, her cold weather gear, and her Fender Rhodes Stage 88, she follows the guy back to his home in New York where – well, this isn’t the “they lived happily ever after” part of the story.

For one thing, Anjani is clear that New York was not her choice of ideal locales,

I ended up in New York. (It wasn’t music that drew me there). It was a man. I never would have gone there otherwise, I don’t think.4

Anjani is reluctant to provide details, especially about the New Yorker. With some repeated promptings (OK, after some nagging), she does summarize the experience:

It was crush at first sight but I also had rock fever and he was a good excuse to leave [Hawaii]. It was destined to fail as we were both young and dysfunctional; and I recall in particular dreading the joint Gestalt therapy sessions. I’m more of a feeler than a talker. I’ve since learned to express myself and (gasp) consider someone else’s feelings in a relationship.

A year later, concluding that the relationship “isn’t going to work,” Anjani calls the only other person she knows in New York (another musician of course), who agrees that she can crash at his fifth floor walk-up until she can find a place to live.

When she does find that place to live, five years later, she will be leaving for Los Angeles – to live with her new husband.

But I’m getting ahead of the story.

Just now, in fact, the script calls for a cameo appearance of a beloved character from the first episode of the Anjani Chronicles, …

The Fender Rhodes Stage 88 Has Hard Knock Life In New York

Anyone who read that first chapter of the Anjani Chronicles, Growing Up Anjani, is unlikely to have forgotten the image of the Fender Rhodes Stage 88; for the benefit of those joining us in medias res, however, a brief recapitulation may be helpful. The following, including Anjani’s own, unexpurgated description of transporting the instrument, is excerpted from the earlier post:

More pertinent to our purposes, one specific Fender Rhodes Stage 88, the virtual twin of the Rhodes Stage 73 shown in the graphic on the right(click on graphic to view larger image) but possessing a longer keyboard5 and proportionately larger size.

… The Fender Rhodes Stage 88 of early- to mid-1970s vintage weighed 65 kilos (143 pounds) or more.6 The total heft varied by model and year of manufacture with earlier versions being markedly heavier. In addition, accouterments such as the tour rig7 could significantly increase the total poundage.

… Anjani Thomas persuaded her ambivalent-leaning-toward-reluctant parents to front her the cash for that mass of wood, plastic, metal, and electronics known as the Fender Rhodes Stage 88 when she was 16 years old and weighed 107 pounds.

… Transporting the Fender Rhodes Stage 88 to those jobs was no small matter. Nor is it without a certain entertainment value. Consider Anjani’s own description of loading the instrument (I suggest picturing it as an updated version of the famous Laurel and Hardy piano moving scene):

Often but not always, my brothers would help me load it. I would lift one end onto the back seat of my dad’s Pontiac LeMans and shove it in maybe 3 – 4 inches, then run around to the other side and pull it in, going back and forth pushing and pulling, inch by inch, till the monster was in there. It was a helluva lot easier to pull it out than load it in.

One should keep in mind that by the time Anjani breaks off the affair that was her reason for coming to New York and moves in with her friend, it has been nine years since she and the Fender Rhodes Stage 88 first hooked up.

Moreover, Anjani’s relationship to the Fender Rhodes Stage 88 has been one of impressive if not absolute fidelity. Oh sure, Anjani may have tickled the ivories of a strange keyboard now and then. A woman has needs. And, she may have, on occasion, fingered the strings of a guitar and even manipulated a fret or two. Perhaps she uttered some harsh words when lugging the electric piano back and forth across the Pacific Ocean, all over the islands, and through the snowy streets of Boston and Calgary, hither and yon, to every job. And the occasional mechanical malfunction may have triggered, in the frustration of the moment, ill-advised threats of replacement with a younger, more lithesome model, but overall, Anjani and the Fender – they have been and still are tight.

At this point, after all, their association has outlasted not only the crush on the New Yorker but also her teenage infatuation with a Canadian boy, her two gigs per weekend schedule as a high schooler, her affiliation with the prestigious Berklee School of Music, a career plan or two, and even her recurrent jobs performing in Hawaiian clubs and lounges.

But there are circumstances that overwhelm even the deepest and strongest connection and, for this girl and her electric piano, the move to a five story walk-up turns out to be the final straw, the problem that would finally cause them to go their separate ways.

Graphic simulation of apartment building stairway as described by Anjani

While Anjani has little choice but to carry, shove, push, hoist, and otherwise propel her instrument up those stairs, its descent is another matter altogether. She soon opts for an elegantly simple and efficient methodology: positioning the keyboard in the middle of the stairs, she nudges it forward and watches it fall to the next landing. She then repositions it, again pushes it forward, and again observes it bumping along to the next landing, repeating as needed.

Anjani describes the scene,

It made a lot of noise when I let it slide down the stairs (nine landings) from the fifth floor. It sounded like a dead body hitting the deck; and not once did anyone pop their heads out their doors to see what the heck it was.

Well, it is an apartment building inhabited exclusively by musicians. And it is, after all, in New York,

The New Men In Anjani’s Life

Having landed in New York by happenstance , Anjani does what Anjani does – she works as a musician. During her time in New York, Anjani performs solo and with others (including Carl Anderson, Frank Gambale, and Stanley Clarke) in the clubs and other venues. In the tradition of struggling musicians everywhere, she also takes whatever jobs are available to support herself, including singing “too many jingles.”

Also working on jingles in those days, although he was producing rather than selling them, is a man who soon becomes become an important part of Anjani’s life, John Lissauer, who describes, in an Interview With Dick Straub, how he and Anjani met:

My first wife and I, my first wife was Erin Dickins, who sings on a lot of these things [pointing to the early Leonard Cohen albums]. She toured with us. Erin was in the original Manhattan Transfer. She was a very good singer, and I produced her and we were married for seven years. She did Leonard’s first tour with me. Not his first, but our first together. In fact she was on both of them, and she sang on his record.

We went to Hawaii on vacation and met a couple of really good Hawaiian musicians who just happened to be up and coming guys. They never got to the mainland but they were really good. Anjani was one of their friends. We didn’t meet her while we were there, but these guys had been raving about us to her because Erin and I had written a lot of songs and gave them some for their records. I sat and played with the guys.

After we had come back to New York, about a year later actually, this girl called me and said, “Hi, I’m Anjani, I’m in New York.”… We got together and she played me stuff and she was really good. A good piano player, and in those days almost Anita Baker like –jazz, pop kind of stuff.

John Lissauer

Anjani is equally impressed with Lissauer, telling PopMatters, “John was a really great and wonderful man.”

While John Lissauer is destined to be involved in many aspects of Anjani’s music, one of his efforts changes her life – eventually. He introduces her to one of the singer-songwriters with whom he has worked for the preceding nine or ten years, Leonard Cohen.8

Anjani’s anticipation about meeting Leonard Cohen falls short of starstruck. In an interview with Hour, she confides, “I wasn’t nervous.” Perhaps she wasn’t nervous because

To be honest, back then I didn’t know much about Leonard – although I’d heard and loved Roberta Flack’s cover of “Suzanne.”9

She does, however, recall their first meeting vividly enough, albeit for an unexpected reason:

I was waiting to meet him at the loft. When he (Leonard Cohen] walked through the door, I saw that his cowboy boots and everything he wore was black. It was an impressive entrance.

That meeting led to Anjani performing background vocals on Cohen’s original recording of “Hallelujah,” joining the Various Positions tour as a keyboardist and vocalist, singing on subsequent Leonard Cohen albums, the Blue Alert album, and an intimate relationship between Anjani and Leonard Cohen.

The path to those end points from that first meeting, however, is not a straight line nor is the journey one completed quickly.

But, those are matters for another post.

____________________

Preceding Anjani Chronicles Post: Anjani Does Waikiki, Boston, and The Slough Of Despond

Next Anjani Chronicles Post: Escape From New York Meets To  Live and Die In L.A. Meets Back To The Future

Links to all Online Anjani Chronicles Posts: The Anjani Chronicles – Posts Published


  1. A more comprehensive version of this introduction was published in The Anjani Chronicles – Introduction []
  2. “Anjani” and “Anjani Thomas” are, for the purposes of the Heck of a Guy blog, synonymous names which refer to the lovely, dulcet-voiced singer best known for her Blue Alert CD and her long-term relationship with Leonard Cohen. I include this clarification on posts about Anjani-Anjani Thomas in part for the purpose of what the folks at Wikipedia call disambiguation (i.e., to positively identify for the reader and remove any doubts the reader might have about which “Anjani” of all the possible “Anjani’s” is referenced) and in part to aid and abet the search engines. While a rose is, famously, a rose is a rose, a “tea rose,” for example, is not exactly the same as a “rose” – especially to a search engine. Searches that include “Anjani” as part of the search terms may not produce the same results as the same search terms other with “Anjani Thomas” substituted for “Anjani.” Should any other Anjani, say one who has not produced a CD called “Blue Alert” or one who has not been associated with Leonard Cohen for the decade, I promise to do my best to make that identification clear as well. []
  3. These events and the aftermath are described at Anjani And DrHGuy FAQ. I’ve also published a batch of blog entries about Anjani and the Blue Alert album that can be found at Anjani Thomas. []
  4. see PopMatters article []
  5. The “73” in “Rhodes Stage 73″ and the “88” in “Rhodes Stage 88″ indicate the number of keys in each instrument’s keyboard. Other than the 15 keys difference, the two models are nearly identical []
  6. I’ve used numbers from several sources such as Selling & Shipping A Fender Rhodes Piano: “I weighed my Mark 1 88 Stage just before taking it on the road with me around 1974 and it was approximately 200 pounds. That was totally packed, with the legs and pedal in the top and the top attached, ready to go.” and “ready to ship my Rhodes Mark II Stage Piano 73 weighed 66 kilograms.” I have, on the other hand, excluded from these calculations the many claims along the lines of “My Fender Rhodes weighed at least 2,000 pounds.” In any case, according to Answers.com, the lightest Rhodes Piano produced in those models was the Mark V, weighing in at 45 kg (100 lbs). The Mark V was not produced until 1984, a decade later. []
  7. A tour rig typically included a road case for the keyboard, an effects pedals (delay, tremolo, phaser), Quiklok stand, Rhodes sustain pedal and rod, and the road case for holding effects, stand, sustain pedal and cords []
  8. The story of how Lissauer himself came to work with Cohen is a dandy tale on its own, and I heartily recommend readers check out his account of it in the previously referenced Interview With Dick Straub. It’s also worth noting that while Lissauer has worked extensively with Leonard Cohen, that is not his only successful musical role or relationship. The following excerpt is from John Lissauer.com: John Lissauer’s first big gig came at the age of 19, when he produced and arranged Al Jarreau’s first recordings. Ever in good company, John went on to produce and arrange a pair of hugely successful Leonard Cohen albums and has been composing, producing and arranging ever since. Writing/arranging for a myriad of recording artists has proven both fruitful and rewarding for John. The four gold records he received for Leonard Cohen and Bette Midler’s albums bear witness to that. He has also worked with Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Air Supply and The Manhattan Transfer to name a few. Having scored some 2000 TV commercials since his first at age 21, John has worked on just about everything. If it comes in a box, a bottle, runs off a battery, or provides a service to anyone, John has worked on it. He has to his credit numerous CLIO awards, including the highly coveted “Campaign Of The Decade” award for his work on Polaroid with James Garner. The kids love him too – John was the composer on three animated feature films including Pokemon: The Movie, a couple of animated shorts and several animated TV series from around the world. The love of music never seems to run dry for John, who is an accomplished woodwind player with various local symphonies. In his spare time, he has taught music at Yale University and Kingsborough Community College, and has composed and conducted for orchestras in New York, Hollywood, London, Paris, Prague and Toronto. []
  9. See LeonardCohenFiles.com: Anjani []

The Anjani Chronicles – Anjani Does Waikiki, Boston, and The Slough Of Despond

Introduction To The Anjani Chronicles1
Anjani2 is the exquisite, exotically featured singer and keyboardist best known for her Blue Alert CD, a collection of elegantly performed songs suffused with evocative lyrics, and her professional and romantic relationships with Leonard Cohen, an accomplished singer-songwriter in his own right. My own connection to Anjani began in July 2006 when I posted Music Recommendation That Will Make You Want To Kiss Me, a review of Blue Alert that reflected my captivation with the music. An online flirtation and email relationship between us ensued.3

The Anjani Chronicles are a sequence of posts based on the content of my recent interviews with Anjani.

Anjani Does Waikiki, Boston, and The Slough Of Despond
Today’s post, the second of this series, begins at the point The Anjani Chronicles – Growing Up Anjani ended, Anjani’s return to Hawaii after performing for six months in Calgary and Edmonton as a member of Kino & The Sands and extends through her early professional career as a keyboardist and singer in the hotel lounges in Waikiki and a student of music in Boston.

That’s Entertainment: An Introductory Parable

The third best restaurant in the Northern Illinois large village-small town where we live offered, until it closed last year, live entertainment.

Local bands appeared with some regularity on the designated stage, a corner of the dining area otherwise occupied by a table for four. Occasionally, a not quite washed-up nationally known band – with two hits and three original members in the 60s – would swing through town on their last desperate tour of Midwestern clubs before taking their place on the county fair/local amusement park/discount store opening circuit.

But on a surprisingly large number of nights, the marquee displayed the name of one or another female vocalist, who not only possessed great pipes, a well chosen set list, and an altogether pleasing aspect but also had issued a favorably reviewed CD or two and had made some significant appearances on TV the concert stage.

On the nights I attended, there were rarely over 40-50 of diners in attendance. Typically, there was no cover charge or drink minimum and a couple could chow down on a house salad, appetizer, entrée, and cocktail for $50-60.

While I admittedly know little about the restaurant or music business, if these industry sectors are restricted to the same mathematics and basic buy low – sell high economic system we civilians use, then it requires only fifth grade arithmetic to determine that this situation, which persisted for many years, required one or more of the following conditions:

  1. Feeding starving musicians was the restaurant owner’s personal philanthropic mission
  2. The singer and the band split the $37 net profit the restaurant made from their performance
  3. All the performers booked were independently wealthy individuals who were had no interest in or need for money but got off on the glamor of playing Proud Mary for 50 parka-clad patrons trying to decide whether to order the breaded pork chops or the mahimahi
  4. The restaurant was a CIA front and the music acts harbored federal agents brought in, using the gigs as cover, to perform covert activities beyond the scope of the local talent

This parable offers two points pertinent to Anjani.

First, talent, even when abetted by beauty, does not guarantee success or even survival as a professional musician. There are battalions of competitors, the reasons for a performer’s popularity are uncertain (except, sometimes, in retrospect), and success today does not always lead to success tomorrow.

Second, I believe I now know, as I’ve long wondered, what could sustain the dedication and spirit of these musicians who travel through our local venues in their quest for stardom. I think each of them has a mantra, a devotional phrase to which they can turn for succor and reaffirmation when it all seems futile.

And that guiding light is

Well, at least I’m not a 16 year old Hawaiian girl dragging a 150 pound Fender Rhodes Stage 88 all over freakin’ Calgary and Edmonton.

You Can Go Home Again – To Play A Few Gigs

After the six months of performing in Canada, Anjani returned to Hawaii and was soon back to work.

I got a gig as second keyboardist along with my piano teacher, Clyde Pound. He’s an awesome jazz pianist in the vein of Bill Evans and he was a major influence in my musical education. We backed up a duo4 in their lounge act. They were great singers and it was one of the hippest shows in Waikiki at the time.

While Anjani relates this in a matter of fact manner, being “one of the hippest shows in Waikiki at the time” was no small accomplishment. The consensus is, in fact, that jazz enjoyed a Golden Era in the lounges of Waikiki during the 1970s. This excerpt from an interview with Clyde Pound himself is representative:

Pound, who first came to Hawaii in 1970 recalled that “back in the day, tours would pack the showrooms, along with Don Ho and Dick Jensen, and then there would be late-night, after-work jam sessions at places like Blue Velvet all along Waikiki.” That era ended, however, in the early ’80s. “There were three things that led to the steady downfall of live music in Waikiki,” Jones explained. “One, the United Airlines strike in 1980; two, the popularity of disco; and, three, the Gulf War.”5

Anjani understood, however, that the Hawaiian jazz scene, however enjoyable and profitable, was not the environment in which she could realize her potential.

This was not the first nor would it prove the last such recognition that a location, a technique, or even an entire musical genre must be abandoned if she were to reach her goal.

When I questioned Anjani about the point at which she first said to herself, “X music isn’t the best I can do. I must try doing Y music instead – no matter how much I like doing X music,” she responded that these were “gradual realizations” rather than a abruptly revealed epiphanies, going on to elaborate,

In the old days every kid started off learning the piano through the foundation of classical music. I found two piano teachers in Hawaii, who helped me move from that to pop/jazz. I had less natural feeling for classical than the music my parents were into: Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Henry Mancini, Sergio Mendez & Brazil 66. And we all grew up on Ed Sullivan’s artists, The Smothers Brothers, and movie musicals. My brother Steve, is eight years older than I am and he turned me on to great music … he can name every relevant song from the 50’s to now. His son is 11 and has the same eclectic taste as his father.

Which brings us to …

Standard Interview Question #17: “Who are the singers who influenced you?”6

An incomplete list of responses to that query from previous interviews would include Henry Mancini, Frank Sinatra, James Taylor, Carole King, Shirley Horn, Stevie Wonder,7 Minnie Ripperton,8 Barry Kim, and Chick Corea as well as others, such as Loyal Garner and Teddy and Nanci Tanaka, who were best known in Hawaii.

In addition, others propose models for her. An article by Mark Marymont in The News-Press of Fort Myers, Florida (May 30, 2007) postulated that Anjani “has clearly listened to a lot of Nina Simone.”

Well, no.

Of course, that sardonic response is mine and not Anjani’s. In answering a query on her message board about that newspaper story’s suggestion that Simone was a model for her, Anjani wrote

Truth is, I stopped listening to music maybe ten years ago, except for what friends send me. … Although I grew up in Hawaii, a lot of musicians toured there (and back then radio and Rolling Stone were valuable/varied resources for discovering new sounds) but I never got exposed to Nina Simone till last April when Sony sent me her back catalogue. She is a fine singer with a miraculous instrument. I grew up playing viola, guitar, ukulele, & piano before finally settling on the latter in Jr. high school. So I actually listened to as much Beethoven as I did rock, jazz, R&B, funk, Hawaiian and folk music. In high school, my voice teacher really thought I’d become a mezzo soprano –I LOVED singing arias by Mozart. But the road led elsewhere. I don’t hear the similarity in our voices very much but I’m flattered by the compliment. I’d have to say that my favorite female artist is Shirley Horn; she puts me in a meditative world that I love to be in.9

Segue Alert: Musical Influences Yield To Personality Traits

Anjani’s response is revealing and worth a moment’s reflection. She straightforwardly declares that she wasn’t influenced by Nina Simone, pointing out she wasn’t exposed to that singer’s work until recently, but then goes on to praise Ms Simone’s voice and note that she is flattered by the comparison. Not satisfied with preemptively assuaging any injury her comments might have caused to the originator of the comparison, Nina Simone, or anyone sympathetic to either, Anjani elaborates on her musical training from childhood to high school and then offer, as a lagniappe, the information that Shirley Horn is her favorite female singer.

Moreover, this response is an answer to what is, in fact, for Anjani, an irrelevant issue. It is much like “When did you decide you wanted to be a professional musician?” to which she simply answers, “I don’t recall a time when I didn’t want to be a musician.”10 Similarly, she has explained – repeatedly – that she does not emulate a particular singer or style.

If the issue of musical influences is irrelevant, why does Anjani not only answer such questions time and time again but, indeed, answer them more extensively than necessary? Her attitude reminds me of an interview I once watched in which a local newscaster asked a chef why his restaurant prepared a flaming dessert at table-side instead of heating it over a stove in the kitchen, a far more efficient method. The chef’s comment was, “Customers like it, and it doesn’t hurt the food much.”

Anjani politely, helpfully supplies an answer to irrelevant questions because interviewers and fans like it and coming up with answers doesn’t do much harm.

Nor is this professional politesse or the pandering of a performer to her audience. Consider this example of parallel behavior. Inquiring about a completely different matter, I asked Anjani if, during her adolescence, she had ever officially been in trouble (e.g., suspended from school or picked up by the police). She replied

God, no. I was pretty smart about not getting caught doing the dumb things I did, like smoking pot in Jr. High and sneaking out to go nightclubbing in high school. I never wanted to upset my folks … my motto has always been “Peace at any cost.” [emphasis mine]

While Anjani offered that declaration as a mirthful hyperbole, it does accurately reflect a behavioral pattern that exerts a powerful force on the way she operates in relationships, especially if conflicts arise, and to get her needs met in general.

Her predilection for “working things out” (her phrase) or, failing that, appeasement becomes exponentially more significant in the context of Anjani’s zealous pursuit, throughout most of her life, of “making it” as a musician. While the simplistic nice guys finish last cliché is not universally valid, it does seem patently clear that striving for success in a hyper-competitive field is a far more complex, circuitous, and difficult task for those, like Anjani, determined to make others, if not content and happy, then at least free of discord – even if that means sacrificing themselves – than for those able to tolerate unresolved conflicts or outright confrontations with others.

Finally, one notes that this concept of “making it” as a musician, particularly as a jazz musician, is an especially ambiguous as well as ambitious goal. How large an audience, how many album sales, how many positive reviews, … would be sufficient for Anjani to account herself successful? Unsurprisingly, objective criteria were never part of the her quest. Instead, she was pursuing a will-o’-the-wisp.

Let’s recap: from childhood, Anjani dedicated herself to pursuing an exceedingly difficult goal that was as amorphous as it was important. Further, winning this prize required her to compete, directly and indirectly, with a seemingly never-ending stream of other talented, dedicated performers. Oh, it was also essential that she induce, at a minimum, cordiality between herself and every other person.

Nothing to it.

This is a theme we’ll see again.

Now, however, we’ll return to Waikiki just long enough to say aloha because Anjani’s next stop en route to her ultimate musical destination is Boston’s Berklee College of Music.

Berklee Bound

In 1980, Anjani became a student at the Berklee College of Music.

Were this a typical article or biographical sketch about Anjani, the preceding sentence would constitute the complete coverage of this period of her life. The writeup at AllMusic.com is representative: “… she attended Berklee College of Music in Boston before moving to New York City.” The M&C site nicely adds the modifier “prestigious,” making it “… [Anjani] trained in guitar, piano and voice before attending Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music.” And, MTV mistakenly alters the story, making her a graduate of Berklee. But for the most part, the official online and print versions of Anjani’s life are limited to the notation that she studied jazz at Berklee for a year.

Such brief references may reflect the brevity of her one year stint at Berklee, but I suspect it has also been given short shrift because it doesn’t fit the templates for the standard “Prelude To Stardom” stories, an idea to which I’ll return after raising a few points.

It may be tempting to view Anjani’s decision to attend Berklee as routine if not trivial. Young adults, after all, frequently attend school even before finalizing their career choices, and professionals often complete a specific educational program, even if they are not required to do so.

Enrolling at Berklee was, however, a decided shift in the direction Anjani’s musical career had taken to that point. While she had received training in music since childhood, her own accounts indicate that she had become increasingly dedicated to performing professionally since high school when she had spent nearly every weekend playing in a band at parties, dances, hotels, and reunions. Then, late in her final year of high school, she had traveled to Canada to take a position in a Polynesian music revue, returning to Hawaii after six months to perform in jazz groups playing the hotel lounges in Waikiki. During her time in Boston, however, she played only “one or two” gigs because, she explains simply, “I came to study.”

It is also helpful, especially for those of us unfamiliar with the institution, to keep in mind that Berklee is not the kind of school one casually selects or one attends to while away a year or two languidly strumming on a guitar and finding oneself.11 This is a place that takes music seriously. According to Wikipedia,

Berklee College of Music, founded in 1945, is an independent music college in Boston, Massachusetts, with many prominent faculty, staff, alumni, and visiting artists. It has an enrollment of approximately 3,900 students and a 2004 faculty of approximately 430. Berklee offers a fully accredited four-year baccalaureate degree or diploma. … Berklee offers three full time semesters per year: Fall, Spring, and Summer. … There are 230 acoustic pianos and more than 1,000 guitar principals at Berklee. The average class size is 11. The holdings of the college’s Stan Getz Media Center and Library include more than 20,000 recordings, 20,000 books, 17,000 musical scores, and 6,000 lead sheets. … Majors [are offered in] Composition, Contemporary Writing & Production, Film Scoring, Jazz Composition, Music Business/Management, Music Education, Music Production & Engineering, Music Synthesis, Music Therapy, Performance, Professional Music, Songwriting.12

Anjani, in response to my request that she characterize the school, described a student population divided into two distinct camps, Jazzers and Rockers, each with its own priorities and preferences. On beginning classes, she discovered that a number of students had so much advanced training prior to admission that they constituted an elite that “sucked up the oxygen from the rest of us.”

Berklee and jazz appear to be virtually inseparable constructs to Anjani. One of her few references to Berklee than as part of her biography is this comment from a discussion of her first album: “… I had a touch of Berklee Syndrome, known as the irresistible urge to drop jazz riffs in all the spaces.”

And, it was at Berklee that she recognized “that my jazz piano chops weren’t anywhere near virtuoso level … so I turned to singing and accompanying myself instead.”

She also made another discovery in Boston:

[Anjani’s] performance on the [Blue Alert] album is accordingly natural and unlaboured – a strategy she embraced when she saw the other side as a student at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. “I quickly discovered that I did not have the wherewithal to sit in a practice room for four, six, eight hours a day. This is not in my nature – and it has, unfortunately, continued to the present day. “I’m notoriously uninspired when it comes to practising,” she said. “But give me a deadline and, two days before, I’ll sit down and work my butt off.”13

After a year in Boston, she received what was was to be her most important grade from Berklee.

But at the end of the semester my voice prof offered me some of her gigs and I thought, “If I’m good enough to do that, maybe I’m done with this place.” It was easy to leave Boston even though I liked the school. Coming from Hawaii it was shockingly cold, and I felt very alone there.

And, following an already familiar pattern that would persist through the future, Anjani returned to Hawaii to earn money playing at the now familiar venues.14

My contention, to which I alluded earlier, is that the events of Anjani’s life during that year in Boston are rarely elaborated in the articles about her because they are not the stuff of which dreams or dramas are made. There are no life-changing triumphs to celebrate nor are their momentous catastrophes that others can easily recognize and empathetically appreciate.

Instead, the narrative, set against a bleak, lonely background, revolves around an onslaught of internal challenges to Anjani’s self-image, which was then personally as well as professionally dependent on her expertise as a specific type of jazz musician. Her decision to change from a jazz pianist to “singing and accompanying myself” consequent to her realization “that my jazz piano chops weren’t anywhere near virtuoso level” may appear no more than a common sense response but that interpretation belies the profound significance of her music as her identity.

That is not the kind of story that moves People and Us magazines off the newsstand

The Slough of Despond

This chapter of The Anjani Chronicles covers one more aspect of Anjani’s journey, but this passage is through a psychological rather than a geographical landscape.


Map of Christian’s Journey in Pilgrim’s Progress (Click on graphic to view larger image)

Anjani has made no secret of her depression, which began at age 13 and persisted over the next 20 years. While it’s easy enough to list the symptoms, prognosis, and secondary effects of depression, I have found the Slough of Despond, a bog in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, an apt metaphor for conveying the consequences of that syndrome and an especially useful tool for combating the tendency of contemporary culture to romanticize depression, much as an earlier generation considered tuberculosis a sign of tragic sensitivity and soulfulness.

Probably every psychiatrist who prescribes antidepressants has heard a variation of the question, “What if Prozac had cured van Gogh/Sylvia Plath/depressed artist of choice,” putting voice to the fantasy that artists are more vulnerable to despair than the rest of us, that the depressed are granted deeper and more authentic insights than the euthymic population, and that many paintings, poems, and songs would never have been produced if the artists responsible for them had not been depressed.

While disproving that thesis is impossible, I know that I’ve never seen, heard of, or read about a patient, artist or otherwise, who, after the depression lifted, complained of lessened productivity or inspiration. Certainly, none ever expressed the wish to suffer through another episode of depression for the sake of his or her art.

Consider this description of the Slough of Despond from Pilgrim’s Progress:

… they drew near to a very miry slough that was in the midst of the plain; and they being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog. The name of the slough was “Despond.” Here, therefore, they wallowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with the dirt; and Christian, because of the burden that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.15

Being mired in sludge, bereft of the hope, is a description that resonates with those provided by the depressed. Even simple tasks become cumbersome, overwhelming labors. Relationships are emotionally costly rather than gratifying. Fatigue, confused thinking, irritability, impaired self-esteem, and recurrent thoughts of death complete the picture.

Anjani’s own assessment of this period follows:

“Youth was a terrible time for me,” she says now. “I had a chemical whatever in my brain that simply wouldn’t allow me to be happy. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time. All I knew was that I was in a completely foul mood, forever irritable.”16

Factoring in the depression with the other psychological elements already mentioned, one cannot help but be struck by the transformation of Anjani’s story, which initially seemed a straightforward, heartwarming adventure of a beautiful, talented girl determined to become a star into a notably darker, more complex tale that is ultimately about resilience and courage.

___________________________



To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.
-Soren Kierkegaard

  1. A more comprehensive version of this introduction was published in The Anjani Chronicles – Introduction []
  2. “Anjani” and “Anjani Thomas” are, for the purposes of the Heck of a Guy blog, synonymous names which refer to the lovely, dulcet-voiced singer best known for her Blue Alert CD and her long-term relationship with Leonard Cohen. I include this clarification on posts about Anjani-Anjani Thomas in part for the purpose of what the folks at Wikipedia call disambiguation (i.e., to positively identify for the reader and remove any doubts the reader might have about which “Anjani” of all the possible “Anjani’s” is referenced) and in part to aid and abet the search engines. While a rose is, famously, a rose is a rose, a “tea rose,” for example, is not exactly the same as a “rose” – especially to a search engine. Searches that include “Anjani” as part of the search terms may not produce the same results as the same search terms other with “Anjani Thomas” substituted for “Anjani.” Should any other Anjani, say one who has not produced a CD called “Blue Alert” or one who has not been associated with Leonard Cohen for the decade, I promise to do my best to make that identification clear as well. []
  3. These events and the aftermath are described at Anjani And DrHGuy FAQ. I’ve also published a batch of blog entries about Anjani and the Blue Alert album that can be found at Anjani Thomas. []
  4. The singers were Teddy and Nanci Tanaka []
  5. Jazz BlowOut ‘pure kicks’ for music pros by Gary C.W. Chun, Star-Bulletin, March 22, 2002 []
  6. Also “Who are your favorite singers? “On which musicians have you modeled yourself?” and many other variations []
  7. Anjani spontaneously notes, by the way, that “’You Are The Sunshine Of My Life’ by Stevie Wonder was where I first heard the Rhodes. I always loved Stevie Wonder and when this song was introduced on [radio station] KPOI, I thought, ‘What is that sound? I have to get one.’ And a few months later, I did.” []
  8. I’m assuming the “Millie Ripperton” referenced in the article was a misprint []
  9. From The Leonard Cohen Forum []
  10. From The Anjani Chronicles – Growing Up Anjani []
  11. It is also helpful, by way of preventing a common faux pas, to know that Berklee is not associated with University of California, Berkeley. Again referring to Wikipedia,

    Berklee was founded by Lawrence Berk and was originally named Schillinger House of Music, after his teacher Joseph Schillinger. The original purpose of the school was to highlight the Schillinger System of musical harmony and composition. After expansion of the school’s curriculum in 1954, Berk changed the name to Berklee School of Music after his son Lee Berk and as a pun on the name of the famous University of California, Berkeley. … When the school received its accreditation, the name was changed to Berklee College of Music in 1973.

    []

  12. Wikipedia also offers a long List of Alumni of Berklee College of Music, which includes John Mayer, Susan Tedeschi, Diana Krall, Quincy Jones, Juliana Hatfield, Bill Frisell, Melissa Etheridge, Paula Cole, and Trey Parker (co-creator of South Park). []
  13. Breathing easy in her own style by Bernard Perusse, The Gazette, June 1, 2006 []
  14. These temporary returns to her home in Hawaii interspersed between periods spent living in other locations account for many of the more than 50 moves Anjani calculates she has made. []
  15. From Apples of Gold []
  16. Anjani: Songs of love and Leonard by Nick Duerden, The Independent 20 April 2007+ []

A Short Subject Before The Next Episode Of The Anjani Chronicles

Coming Attractions and Special Features from The Anjani Chronicles Director’s Cut

The next episode of The Anjani Chronicles1 requires only a final cut and buffing before it goes online, an event now tentatively scheduled for the first of next week.

In acknowledgment of the long wait between episodes and as an aperitif prior to the publication of the next chapter, today’s post offers a few Anjani factoids that are not recorded elsewhere (or if they have been published, they have escaped my notice). This batch comes from a few of our email exchanges that produced data I don’t expect to use in The Anjani Chronicles.


Cute and Cats


DrHGuy
: A blogger’s note read in part, “They [Leonard Cohen and Anjani] are too cute for words. I wish they’d come over for dinner. I wonder if they like cats.” So, do you like cats? (Puppies? Cockatoos? Lizards? …) … As for “too cute for words,” I must admit that “cute” is not the first characterization that comes to my mind but maybe I’ve overlooked something. Do you, for example, dot your i’s with little hearts?”

Anjani:

We are dog people but we can’t have pets because we travel so much. so we lavish love on Lorca’s two: Nova and Toast. They are nicer than most people and a lot handsomer too.No hearts on the i’s. I’m more wicked than cute … ask Leonard.2

Work Habits

Anjani (written in an extended response to a query on another subject):

I’m a procrastinator. Unlike Leonard, who diligently sits and writes/draws/composes every day, I’ll do anything to avoid work. Then, when the deadline looms — or worse — has passed, I go into a frenzied state of action and if I’m lucky, I pull a rabbit or two out of the hat. It never ceases to amaze me how slothful I am, and how productive only when I need to be.On the other hand, I make a kickass carrot cake and I know my way around a garden3

Church

DrHGuy: Were you raised in a church environment? If so, what kind? Did you sing Campbellite hymns, gospel songs, Gregorian Chant, or whatever in the choir?

Anjani:

Well, sorta. They didn’t attend services themselves but my parents sent us kids to a Presbyterian Sunday school. I loved going because I got to sing my little soprano heart out in the choir.

Tattoos

DrHGuy: Do you have a tattoo. If so, where, what, when … ? If not, would you like one? (Christmas, after all, is just around the corner)

Anjani:

Nope. I’ve never thought of doing it although I once had a dream where there was a line of pyramids and the words HERU OR wrapped around my upper arm. Freaked me out when I woke up. Anyway, I have enough distinguishing marks as it is … like I’ve got absolutely HUGE hands. And my feet are size 9.5 — as big as Leonard’s — that’s why I get to wear his old Loro Piana cashmere slippers.

Veggies and Sweets

DrHGuy: I found a blog written by a guy who is very serious about cooking and very hot on Leonard Cohen so he asked the obvious question, “If Leonard Cohen were a vegetable, which vegetable would he be?”

I’m thinking something on the lines of asparagus, but you, no doubt, have a more interesting response.

Anjani:

Definitely a cabbage. First of all, it looks like a brain. Second, it’s got substantial weight, and when you cut it open it has those labyrinthine channels and layers tightly packed together. His mind is like that, his work is like that. And third, coleslaw is his favorite salad.4

DrHGuy: Extrapolating from the veggie quandary, my next question is, of course, “If Anjani were a candy bar, which candy bar would she be?”

Anjani:

Can I be a piece of cake instead? Because I’m not much of a candy eater but I am very big on cake. All kinds, as long as it is great. I won’t sully my love for it by eating less than great cake. I’d have a tough time choosing between fresh strawberry shortcake with whipped crème or the classic chocolate layer with an ice cold glass of milk. And another thing: I had to give up refined white sugar recently, (and this is more information than you asked for, I know) so ideally it should be made with half the amount of Rapadura sugar and with organic ingredients. But in a pinch, if someone’s mother has made it, I’ll just say a prayer and indulge.

I happen to have the easiest recipe for a shortbread that is so divine I had to stop baking it because I will eat half a batch before I can even think of sharing it. So if I were a cookie it would be this one. And just so you don’t wonder the rest of your life what it is, here ya go:

KICKASS SHORTBREAD
2 c. room temperature butter
2 c. sifted powdered sugar (I cut this to 1 1/4 cup)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2c flour

Cream butter and sugar.
Sift other dry ingredients and add to mixture.
Roll into 1” balls and flatten.
Bake at 325 degrees for 10 min.
Sift powdered sugar over them if you like.

And don’t blame me if you eat them all.

Links to all currently published posts of The Anjani Chronicles can be found at

The Anjani Chronicles – Posts Published


  1. As ongoing readers know, the Heck Of A Guy Blog recently began publishing The Anjani Chronicles, a sequence of posts based on the content of my recent interviews with Anjani Thomas (“Anjani” and “Anjani Thomas” are, for the purposes of The Anjani Chronicles and the Heck of a Guy blog, synonymous names), the exquisite singer and keyboardist best known for her Blue Alert CD and her professional and romantic relationships with Leonard Cohen. A comprehensive introduction to The Anjani Chronicles is available at The Anjani Chronicles – Introduction. All published Anjani Chronicles posts can be found by clicking on Anjani Chronicles in the links listed under “Categories.” []
  2. This response was posted as a comment on the original blog, which is, I suspect, too obscure to have been read by many folks. Also, I admit that I had hoped for an answer that would have allowed me write something on the lines of “Anjani and Leonard report that cats are perfectly nice although they prefer pumas or puffer fish.” []
  3. The penchant for procrastination has been described before. As far as I know the carrot cake, kickass or otherwise, has not been []
  4. A portion of this was published in The Leonard Cohen Food Files []

From The Cutting Room Floor Of The Anjani Chronicles

The Director’s Cut: Posts From The Cutting Room Floor Of The Anjani Chronicles

As ongoing readers know, the Heck Of A Guy Blog recently began publishing The Anjani Chronicles, a sequence of posts based on the content of my recent interviews with Anjani Thomas,1 the exquisite singer and keyboardist best known for her Blue Alert CD and her professional and romantic relationships with Leonard Cohen.2

The research for The Anjani Chronicles, the interviews themselves, and the subsequent clarifying emails produced a number of items that, for one reason or another, are not used in the final posts. That data detritus was, I’ve always assumed, part of the cost of doing business – if ones business is writing exegeses in Bible College on the ambiguity of the Apostle Paul’s instructions to slaves, explicating Housman’s “The laws of God, the laws of man,” completing a psychiatric diagnostic evaluation – or publishing biographical posts.

At least, that was what I thought until 1:15 this morning when I realized that I was using the wrong models. While seminaries, English post-graduate programs, and psychiatry may be mired in the inefficiencies of the past, the coalition of the movie and DVD industries have solved the same problem I was facing.

That solution is to wedge the leftovers – the excised film clips, the outtakes, the comments, etc. – onto a DVD, along with the movie itself, and market it at a premium price as “The Director’s Cut.”

And thus was born The Director’s Cut of The Anjani Chronicles, posts constructed from materials developed for but not used in The Anjani Chronicles, including Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Supplemental Content, Candid Clips, Raw Takes, Unverified Material, Speculations, Rumors, Gossip, Innuendos, Half-truths, Quarter-Truths, One-Tenth and Less Truths, Flat-out Lies, Fake Items, Slander, Sleaze, Slurs, & Slime

The first Special Feature offered from the Anjani Chronicles Director’s Cut follows.

______________________

The Best Anjani Interview By Another Guy3

In the past few months, I’ve read batches of articles based on interviews with Anjani, alone or coupled with Leonard Cohen, and watched many videos of interviews with her, again alone or paired with Leonard Cohen.

I have not been impressed.

The Anjani that writes snarky comments on my posts and clever email retorts is completely missing in the interviews I watched and those I read. At best, these dispatches are vacuous, hackneyed, and bland; several surpass these standards to meet criteria for classification as “inane.” Almost none broach issues that have not been already been addressed in dozens of other vacuous, hackneyed, and bland articles.

In fact, my disappointment in the lackluster representations of Anjani found in those articles and videos was a prime motivator in the creation of The Anjani Chronicles.4

The PureMusic Aberrancy

At least one interview, however, has proved the exception. The PureMusic Interview With Anjani by Frank Goodman5 is remarkable for establishing an empathic connection between Anjani and the interviewer almost immediately. In addition, the content is intriguing, Mr. Goodman is both knowledgeable and interested, and the exchange of ideas is entertaining and provocative.

The discussion of Leonard Cohen’s influence on the Blue Alert CD and on Anjani herself, the tar pit into which most interviews with Anjani sink and die a deservedly agonizing death, is evenhanded and thoughtful.

Even the photo choices are superior to the usual fare.

Finally, PureMusic offers a PDF version of the entire multi-page article and music clips. While neither of these items are technological marvels, they are nifty conveniences for the reader and show a concern for the audience that is atypical of online and print journals.

While I don’t agree with every point and implication of this piece I cannot fault the process or technique used.

If you are going to read only one pre-20086 article about Anjani,7 make it Frank Goodman’s interview in PureMusic.

This article can be accessed at PureMusic Interview With Anjani

Links to all currently published posts from The Anjani Chronicles can be found at The Anjani Chronicles – Posts Published


  1. “Anjani” and “Anjani Thomas” are, for the purposes of the Heck of a Guy blog, synonymous names which refer to the lovely, dulcet-voiced singer best known for her Blue Alert CD and her long-term relationship with Leonard Cohen. []
  2. A comprehensive introduction to The Anjani Chronicles is available at The Anjani Chronicles – Introduction. All published Anjani Chronicles posts can be found by clicking on Anjani Chronicles in the links listed under “Categories.” My own connection to Anjani began in July 2006 when I posted Music Recommendation That Will Make You Want To Kiss Me, a review of Blue Alert that reflected my captivation with the music. An online flirtation and email relationship between us ensued. These events and the aftermath are described at Anjani And DrHGuy FAQ. I’ve also published a batch of blog entries about Anjani and the Blue Alert album that can be found at Anjani Thomas. []
  3. “Another Guy,” in this case, is any guy other than DrHGuy []
  4. Yep, this is a case of a post evolving from the following statement I muttered to myself: “Heck, I can write something that isn’t much more vacuous, hackneyed, and bland than this stuff.” []
  5. PureMusic, Issue 75, 4/2007 []
  6. Give me a break. After putting the 2008 Anjani Chronicles together, I’m not likely to do the self-abnegation thing and recommend you read something else instead of my piece []
  7. Admittedly, the set of those individuals who are determined to read one – and only one – article about Anjani would seem to be a small and an extraordinarily odd group of readers, but you know what I mean []